Most visitors see Austria as the perfect winter destination. Especially Tyrol attracts tourists mainly during skiing season. But the mountainous region offers a lot during the summer season as well. Let us take you through a perfect program for 4 days of Summer in Oetztal.
Our room view at 4* superior Hotel Ritzlerhof in Sautens, Oetztal.
The region: Summer in Oetztal & Soelden
Tyrol is defined by mountains and valleys. One of those valleys stretching from North to South is the so called “Oetztal” (or “Ötztal” in German). It is located approximately 30 minutes to the West from Innsbruck, the capital of Tyrol.
A bench with a view of the Oetztal mountains.
The region and especially the village of Soelden (“Sölden” in German) have worked a lot to upgrade it’s summer offering. In the long run this is a strategy, that makes sense for a more sustainable year-round tourism.
Mountain summers are one of the most relaxed ways to make holidays.
The adventures: From hiking to swimming
So what is there to do during the summer in Oetztal? We asked ourselves that question – especially since we’re not the most sporty or adventurous people. But the good thing is: There’s a great variety of activities for all sorts of visitors’ needs.
Lake Piburger See: Tyrol’s warmest natural swimming lake.
The sports & fitness adventures
For the sportier people among you, there isn’t only hiking and mountainbiking. The summer in Oetztal offers adventures from rafting to wake boarding, canyoning, paragliding and many other things. Since we aren’t too much into these really hardcore physical activities, we tried some of the basics and watched others risk the more challenging adventures 😉
We prefer hardcore hammocking… adrenaline is overrated 😉
The wellness & gourmet activities
The other side of Tyrol’s attractions is for the less sporty and more relaxation-searching among you. There are several Wellness Hotels (and even a Selfness Hotel), but there’s also a way to relax in nature. Walking around one of the magnificent lakes or eating an alpine breakfast made of all local products could be one of those activities, that bring you closer to your wish for a pause to breathe and let go.
Watching sheep cuddling can be the most relaxing thing in the alps!
Our Guide for 4 days in Tyrol’s Oetztal
Now that you know what the options are, let us introduce you to our personal Guide for 4 perfect days in the Oetztal in Tyrol.
Day 1: Arrival & Hiking
We stayed close to Innsbruck for one night before we started our tour of the Ötztal. Why we did that? Because it’s a 5,5 hour drive from Vienna to Soelden and we knew that we would start with a hike the first day and wanted to be fit. With our night in Innsbruck we only had a 50 minute drive to Soelden.
Soelden is defined by hotels, lifts and other touristic infrastructure.
So it’s not the most beautiful village in Tyrol, but a practical starting point.
In retrospect it maybe would’ve been a better choice to stay in one of the hotels in the valley the first night and then only start with the hike on Day 2.
Our starting point of the hike: The Windachalm.
We hiked up to one of the highest alpine huts in the Oetztal mountains – the so called “Brunnenkogelhaus”. The hike took us approximately 4 hours to climb up 800 meters in altitude, where we arrived to spend the night at 2.738 meters above sea level. Soon there will be a detailed report of that hike on the website of Oetztal tourism.
A view down to the Windachalm from the hike up to Brunnenkogel.
Day 2: Sunrise at the mountain top & alpine breakfast
Waking up in an alpine hut makes for glorious mountain views.
We even decided to wake up in the middle of the night to watch the stars – unfortunately the moon was very bright that night, so we didn’t see so many. But on nights with low moonlight this must be incredible!
When the sun rose at 5:27am we were already up and running and then enjoyed our alpine breakfast (with selfmade butter, bread and jam) at 6:30am.
We stayed at the Brunnenkogelhaus at 2.738 meters above sea level.
After this incredible morning it was time for our decent, but not without making a “small” detour to an alpine lake closeby called “Wannenkarsee”. The lake is officially a 1 hour hike away from the Brunnenkogelhaus, but it took us a little longer to get there. It seems we’re not as fit, as the alpine guides expect their visitors to be 😉
The Wannenkarsee lake is a true gem – no visitors to be seen anywhere!
The detour was worth the effort though! We were all alone and enjoyed the views of the turquoise lake all by ourselves (ask people that visit the well-known lakes in the South Tyrolean mountains what it’s like there – we hear it’s a bit like Disneyland with so many tourists around).
Check this link for more infos about Wannenkarsee.
The color of the lake is incredible!
After the hike up to the lake we decided to rest a little and napped for a while lying down on the meadow of the alps – with not a single person to be spotted around! Now we know why they call this region of the Oetztal the “quiet side”. Even at the beginning of the main season in July we didn’t meet one other hiker during all of Day 1 and only two other small groups on Day 2 during our decent.
The amazing Windachalm: You can have these paths all t0 yourself – even during the high season!
Day 3: Morning walk & Regional specialties in one of Tyrol’s most beautiful alpine huts
We really enjoyed a swim in the pool and a good night sleep in our comfortable bed in the village of Soelden after our two days of hiking. But on Day 3 we still didn’t have enough of the mountains. And the advantage of regions like the Oetztal is – there’s always a comfortable alternative to a real hike!
You can reach the huts of “Gampe Thaya” within 15 minutes of comfortable walking!
Only a 15 minute walk from a small parking lot gets you to the wonderful “Gampe Thaya”, that just won an Euregio award for their combination of tourism and agriculture.
We had the most amazing alpine breakfast up here – selfmade cheese (you can even check their small manufacturing space right behind the hut), the best homemade bread ever, juice from handpicked cranberries, fresh eggs, alpine butter, yoghurt with fruit. And all of this with a view of Tyrol’s beautiful mountain scenery!
The alpine breakfast at Gampe Thaya is definitely worth a try – and costs only 15 Euros per person!
In winter this place is supposedly very busy, but we had the Gampe Thaya almost to ourselves and got to talk to the family owning and running the place. You could sense that mother Daniela was all relaxed, as she was sitting with us and talking in her heavy Tyrolean accent.
In summer the family gets to stay up at the alp together – as they all work there, mother, father and daughters. “It’s the time of the year to relax and chill” she says and off she goes to the kitchen to bring another bowl full of bread!
Day 4: Action & Water adventures
The last day of our trip to the Oetztal consisted mainly of water as we visited the adventure park AREA 47. This action arena offers everything from rafting, to Flying Fox, blobbing, wake boarding, the craziest waterslides and so on. The offering is endless and we could’ve stayed here much longer. We suggest you plan more than one day here, to really experience everything you want to.
The Flying Fox & water slides are just two of the many attractions at the AREA 47.
We spent half a day at the AREA 47 and mostly enjoyed the water area, the climbing area with the Flying Fox and the newly opened Wake Board lift. We got lucky as the day of our visit we watched some professionals riding their wake boards which was quite impressive!
Professional wakeboarder Busty Dunn is training for a competition.
To cool down and relax we recommend visiting the closeby Piburger lake (“Piburger See”). This is probably the opposite of AREA 47 and a perfect place to unwind and just chill. The lake is surrounded by woods and only accessible by foot or bike. We parked our car in the village of Piburg (attention: you need coins to pay the parking machine) and then walked the 10-15 minutes to the lake.
The Piburger lake is the warmest natural alpine lake in all of Tyrol and therefore a true attraction.
But be careful:
Swimming is only allowed in the official bathing area as the rest of the lake is suffering from erosion on the shores and needs to be protected!
The hotels: From mountain huts to luxurious retreats
We stayed in three different places – to research the multiple options in the Oetztal. Bottomline: We would recommend to combine a stay in an alpine hut with a few nights in a comfortable hotel to get the best out of your trip.
This way you get to experience nature and rustic charm, but also the luxury of a hotel!
- An alpine hut at 2.738m sea level.
- The verdict: Rustic, charming, incredible mountain views.
- The highlight: The cozy rooms, fresh linens, the 360 degree view.
- Located in the heart of Soelden.
- The verdict: Cozy, great Spa area, close to the street.
- The highlight: The pool & Spa area with infrared cabin and sauna. The rustic Grizzly bar.
- Located in Sautens, the North of the Oetztal.
- The verdict: Amazing modern rooms, great pool area, located in the woods with great room views.
- The highlight: Our suite (#117) with a huge terrace, free standing bath tub, private sauna and fireplace.
Those were our tips for 4 days of summer in Oetztal. What’s your favourite region in Austria to spend the summer? Let us know in the comments!
You can find more infos on the
official website of the Oetztal region.
Disclaimer: We have been invited and paid a daily rate to participate in this trip, but the views in our blogpost stay independent from that invitation.